Simplify Your Morning Routine with a BB Cream

dr jart

What would you say if you found out you could take care of your moisturizer, skin treatment, sunscreen, and makeup all at one time? You could hit the snooze button an extra time or two thanks to no longer needing to apply a product, wait for it to soak in, then apply another, and another. It’d also help keep your bathroom counter clear of extra products, and you could keep all the special serums and creams tucked away for days when you have more time and really want to pamper yourself. The solution to your morning makeup (and skin care) dilemma is called BB Cream, or Blemish Balm.

Not all BB Creams work the same way. Not all of them offer the same coverage or same amount of SPF, so if you can visit a Sephora or department store where you can get your hands on samples, do that. You may have to go through a few different kinds to find the one that offers just what you need and makes your skin look as close to flawless as a do-it-all product can. A few to check out include:

Boscia: This comes in only one color for now, but a bronzer BB Cream from this line will be on the market soon. It has SPF 27 as well as antioxidants, and the coverage is opaque for a BB cream, similar to light-to-medium coverage foundation. All skin tones are supposed to be able to wear it, but those with very fair skin may find it a bit too orange. ($38, Sephora)

Urban Decay Naked: This is another single-shade product meant to meld with most skin tones. It has SPF 20 and it’s designed to minimize pores, wrinkles, and redness instantly. If you use it on a daily or almost-daily basis over the course of eight weeks, your skin should look lifted and firmer. ($34, UrbanDecay.com)

Maybelline Dream Fresh: This doesn’t actually offer much in the way of skin treatments or coverage, but if your skin is nearly flawless anyway and you’re just looking to even out your skin tone a bit and add moisture and SPF (SPF 30), it’s worth a look. The texture is silky, it’s inexpensive (around $8), and can be found at most drugstores and Ulta. Another perk is the fact that it comes in five shades that will give your skin a healthy glow.

Dr. Jart +: This line has consistently received fantastic reviews from beauty product junkies, and some argue that these are the closest to the original Korean BB Creams you could possibly get in the United States. There are several to choose from, such as Renewalist (SPF 40), Black Label Detox (SPF 25), Water Fuse (SPF 25), and Premium (SPF 45). If it’s difficult to choose the perfect one for your skin and you’re not near a Sephora where you can give them a try, there’s a set with .5 oz of each of the four at Sephora.com for $34.

Clinique Age Defense BB Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 30: Clinique is well-known for its skin care line, so the addition of a BB cream to the line should be no surprise. This one’s $37 at Clinique counters and Sephora, and it comes in three shades. Some reviewers feel that it’s too heavy, while others say it doesn’t offer enough coverage and they use it as a primer for their regular makeup. If you tend to love Clinique’s products, at least give this one a whirl at the counter to see how the formula feels on your skin.

BB creams can be the ultimate time savers, or if you’d prefer, they can be an extra step in your normal routine. Use them as a multi-functioning product in the mornings or use them as a foundation primer in conjunction with your normal moisturizers and serums. The important thing is to sample as many as possible in order to find your skin’s perfect match. You may never go back to the complicated morning routine again.

 

What to Eat for Great Skin

healthy skin

As a bride, you’re going to have a natural glow on your big day. But what if you could take it to the max? You can, and it’s all about the foods you eat in the weeks or months leading up to your wedding date (and hopefully beyond).

Sticking to a diet that’s rich in whole foods will supply your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs to keep your skin looking fantastic. Foods to incorporate into your diet include:

Beets: Beets reduce inflammation in the body and help balance the hormones, which can cause acne.

Carrots: The anti-aging beta-carotene gives a boost to your sunscreen’s effectiveness, but don’t skip the SPF!

Mangoes: The vitamin A and antioxidants in mangoes help skin look younger and more refreshed.

Pumpkin seeds: The zinc in these can help clear up acne or make the skin tone appear more even. There’s also magnesium and those lovable omega-3’s to give you a glow.

Coconut oil: Eating coconut oil, a healthy fat with vitamins A and C as well as antioxidants, (or applying it directly to the skin) can promote moisture and elasticity. It can help repair the skin.

Olives or olive oil: Olive oil works to keep moisture in the skin, whether you eat it or apply it topically. Try using extra virgin olive oil on your salads for an extra helping of antioxidants.

Salmon: This fish helps the skin retain moisture and also promotes collagen growth. The omega-3s in salmon and other fish like tuna, catfish, pollock, anchovies, and oysters also reduce inflammation.

Nuts: Eating a variety of nuts can give you an extra dose of vitamin E, beta-carotene, selenium (especially in Brazil nuts), magnesium, copper, and B vitamins.

Green tea: Drink it, flavor your rice with it, or apply it topically. Green tea contains antioxidants (specifically EGCG) that help reduce DNA damage.

Eggs: Because of a combination of B vitamins, choline, protein, and lutein, eggs help the body make collagen and elastin. They also help reduce free radical damage to the skin.

Maple syrup: Maple syrup can enhance cell regeneration, and the antioxidants inside help neutralize free radicals.

Dark chocolate: Guess what? You don’t have to give up chocolate before your wedding day. Just choose dark chocolate, complete with antioxidants, and only have a square or two per day, at the most. It helps protect skin from sun damage.

Cucumbers: Not only are cucumbers loaded with water, they also contain antioxidants, vitamin C, and manganese (which helps create enzymes that boost antioxidant efficiency).

Melons: Like cucumbers, these are full of water so they assist with hydration. In addition, you get antioxidants, vitamins A and C, lycopene (which fight free radicals and block UV rays), beta-carotene, and anti-aging flavonoids.

Rhubarb: Full of antioxidants and lutein, rhubarb works against free radicals that come from exposure to the environment.

Berries: Berries are tiny little antioxidant powerhouses. Throw them on top of yogurt or cereal, or toss them into a smoothie.

Dark, leafy greens: You can’t go wrong with these. Cook them, use them in salads, or put them in smoothies when you’re always on the go between work and wedding planning (you can’t taste them once you add your other ingredients, like fruit, coconut water, or milk). You get vitamins like K, C, E, and B), minerals (iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium), and phytonutrients (lutein and beta-carotene).

What to skip: Refined sugar, white bread, soda, artificial sweeteners (Stevia is fine), and other processed foods.

Eat clean! Don’t underestimate the power of getting half your body weight in ounces of water (for example, a 150-lb woman should have at least 75 ounces of water each day), exercising five to six days per week, and sleeping seven to nine hours every night. By increasing your intake of foods that benefit your skin, you’ll find an increase in energy and maybe even a more balanced mood, too.

DIY Manicures for Brides

pretty hands

Even if you’re a no-frills kind of gal, chances are you’re going to want your hands and nails to look beautiful both before and during the wedding. Consider taking a “DIY” approach: you don’t need professional manicures to make your nails look beautiful, and there are ways to keep the skin on your hands looking youthful and gorgeous as well.

The first tip is to always keep a hand cream and cuticle oil nearby so you can moisturize when you need it. Try Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream ($4.49, Drugstore.com) or Clinique Deep Comfort Hand and Cuticle Cream ($20, Clinique.com). If your cuticles need extra attention and you want to use a cuticle oil in addition to the rich creams, try argan oil if you already have some in your beauty arsenal. Sally Hansen Cuticle Oil ($5.59, Ulta) has vitamin E in it for additional skin benefits. Massage the oil into the cuticle each night before bed and then rub it across each nail for extra strength and to prevent breakage.

Hands are in the spotlight when you’re engaged because everyone wants to see your engagement ring. Your hands will also show up in quite a few wedding photos, up close and personal, so you want to make sure they look good. You’ll want to keep the nails painted, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on professional manicures.

Trim your nails so they’re the length you want, then smooth out the edges with a nail file, rounding the edges just a bit so they’re less likely to catch on things and cause breakage. Buff the nail for a smooth finish.

Never cut your cuticles. Instead, push them back in the shower with a washcloth while they’re still damp (or just soak your fingertips in warm water for a few minutes if you’re not showering first). You can push the cuticles back more if needed with an orangewood cuticle stick before applying the polish. Massage the oil into the cuticles if you wish, let it set for a few minutes, and then wipe your nail clean with nail polish remover. From there, if you’re using a single shade, just apply your base coat, color, and a top coat to seal everything in. Once the nails are completely dry, apply cuticle oil to the nails and cuticles. Then clean up the edges with a cotton swab dipped in nail polish remover.

For a classic French manicure without the hassle of stickers or special manicure kits, choose an opaque white polish for the tips and a sheer peach or pink polish for the rest of the nail. Paint the tips of your nails white, but don’t worry about getting the perfect line yet. Once that has dried completely, take a flat, dense eye shadow brush or paintbrush with natural bristles, dip it into acetone nail polish remover and swoop in at the bottom edge of the white polish in a windshield-wiper motion to get a crisp, curved line across the tip of the nail in the width you prefer. Go over the whole nail, including the tip, with the other sheer shade you’ve selected. Then apply a top coat once it’s dry to prevent chipping.

Make using your hand cream and cuticle oil a daily habit in the days or weeks leading up to your wedding date, applying at least before bed. Try the DIY manicure at least the week before, just to make sure your polish choice is perfect for your skin tone and to give yourself a chance to perfect the technique. Doing your nails on the evening before your wedding may give you better results (if nervous, you may have shaky hands on the day of the ceremony), so let the manicure be a moment to relax and wind down before the big day.

 

5 Hair Myths – Busted!

crazyhair

Misinformation can be just as stubborn as frizz or those pesky flyaways – it’s difficult to manage, impossible to reason with and it just keeps coming back, says longtime hair-care advocate and health scientist Audrey Davis-Sivasothy.

“Old wives’ tales and ineffective products that claim to treat or rehabilitate hair often have a placebo effect because people want them to work,” says Davis-Sivasothy, author of “Hair Care Rehab,” (www.haircarerehab.com). “But many of these ideas and products actually do the opposite of what’s intended, and they delay the user from seeking out real solutions.”

Davis-Sivasothy debunks the following common hair-care myths:

• Myth: There’s a magic pill (or oil, serum or balm) to grow our hair faster, stronger or thicker. Unfortunately, no. Hair growth is genetically predetermined and controlled by our hormones. Unless the magic pill affects our genes or hormones, there’s no hope that it might make our hair grow. (This includes prenatal vitamins. Credit the upsurge in hormone levels during pregnancy for those vibrant tresses!) Basic vitamin supplements can offer slight improvements in hair quality, but only if our body truly lacks the particular vitamin or mineral being taken.

• Myth: Trimming will make your hair grow stronger, longer, faster or thicker. Since hair is dead, cutting the ends has no effect on what happens at the scalp. Strands will grow at the same predetermined rate each month, and individual strands will grow in at the same thickness as before. While trimming or cutting the hair does seem to give the appearance of thicker hair, this is only because all of the freshly trimmed hairs now have the same, clear endpoint.

• Myth: Expensive products do more! Not necessarily. Always look for ingredients over brand names. There are just as many poorly formulated high-end products as there are bargain ones – and just as many worthy expensive products as there are bargain ones, too!

• Myth: Products made for or marketed to (insert race/ethnicity) cannot be used by those of other backgrounds. False! The ingredients in a product matter much more than to whom the product is marketed. In fact, most products have the same set of three to five base ingredients. Products for “ethnic” hair types tend to be more moisturizing and have more oils and proteins than those for other hair types. Damaged hair needs a good dose of moisture, proteins and oil to regain its healthy appearance. The same holds true for products marketed to those with color-treated hair. Even if your hair is not dyed, using a product for color-treated hair can be beneficial because these shampoo formulas tend to be gentler (to preserve easily washed away hair color) and conditioners tend to be super-conditioning, but lightweight, to help reduce dryness from the coloring process.

• Myth: Washing your hair too often leads to dryness. This depends. Hair can be cleansed as often as you like without dryness, provided you use the proper products to retain moisture. Those who generally have naturally drier hair types (including those of us with curls and highly textured hair) often shy away from frequent cleansing – but water is not the enemy! It’s the stripping shampoos and mediocre conditioners we use that are to blame. Using the proper moisturizing and conditioning products at wash time will actually increase your hair’s hydration.

About Audrey Davis-Sivasothy: Audrey Davis-Sivasothy is a Houston-based freelance writer, publisher and longtime, healthy hair care advocate and enthusiast. Sivasothy holds a degree in health science and has written extensively on the science of caring for hair at home.

The Best Cool Weather Fragrances

Victor & Rolf's Flowerbomb has amazing sillage and longevity.

Cooler weather opens the floodgates for a parade of heavier, warmer scents with more punch than the average body spray or a fruity-floral fragrance designed to waft gently off of your skin in the light of the spring and summer sunshine. Winter welcomes a whole new world of scents, from spicy to gourmand, leather to woody. Even florals and chypres get their share of air time, and thank goodness, since they’re beautiful but aren’t necessarily the ones you’d want to wear in the middle of a warm day.

Dior Hypnotic Poison blends vanilla with caraway seed, bitter almond, jasmine, moss, and musk.

 

Here are some of the best scents for these cooler months, when you can spritz something heavier under your sweater:

Oriental/Spicy/Vanilla

If you like spices, vanilla, amber, and warm, sensual scents, you might like:

Dior Addict: Vanilla, but not your average vanilla. It’s rich and smoky, but not too sweet.

Dior Hypnotic Poison: Another vanilla, this time paired with caraway seed, bitter almond, jasmine, moss, and musk.

Versace Crystal Noir: Gardenia, amber, and musk make this one a dark, sensual “floriental.”

Donna Karan Black Cashmere: Spicy saffron, red and white pepper, and carnation combine for a delicious oriental fragrance.

 

Floral

Victor & Rolf’s Flowerbomb has amazing sillage and longevity.

 

Traditional and oh-so-feminine in your perfume tastes? Try some of these on:

Givenchy Amarige: Optimistic peach, plum, and orange are tempered by gardenia, amber, musk, sandalwood, Tonka bean, and cedar for a complicated, lovely fragrance.

Guerlain Insolence: This is floral, fruity, sweet, and difficult to pin down, but it’s also intense (and intensely feminine), so it’s best left for cool weather. Notes include violet, raspberry, raisins, balsams, Tonka bean, and iris.

Lolita Lempicka: Flowers (violet, anise) with a licorice twist and a hint of green ivy on a vanilla blanket – Lolita Lempicka is a little of everything and perfect for the complex woman.

Victor & Rolf Flowerbomb: This scent has amazing sillage and longevity, and it combines florals and vanilla for a heady romantic scent.

 

 

Chypre

Chanel Coco Madamoiselle is comforting, yet confidence-boosting.

 

Chypres often feature earthy notes (think moss, leather, wood) combined with florals or fruits. They’re not too delicate and are often complicated enough to warrant an extra sniff or two.

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle: With citrus juxtaposed against patchouli, vanilla, vetiver, ylang-ylang, jasmine, and more, this scent is comforting, yet confidence-boosting.

Dior Miss Dior Cherie: The scent of strawberries mingles against the wet earth in Miss Dior Cherie. It’s light and youthful, but not all candy and bubbles. There are caramel, violet, jasmine, and patchouli notes nestled in the bottle, too.

Jimmy Choo: The bottle may look like Flowerbomb, but Jimmy Choo is a mix of green notes, patchouli, toffee, mandarin orange, pear, and orchid.

Chanel Chance: Pink pepper, lemon, jasmine, iris, vetiver, amber, white musk, and more combine to make this one sparkling cool weather fragrance.

 

 

Woody

Samsara is a classic — but beware of its strength.

 

Think of sandalwood, cedar, patchouli, and vetiver. These scents are usually warm and paired with florals or fruits for balance and complexity.

Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely: Some people call this the poor woman’s Narciso Rodriguez For Her. It has a hint of powder mixed with amber, cedar, musk, and other woody notes.

Bath & Body Works Twilight Woods: Don’t let the fact that it’s inexpensive fool you into thinking this scent isn’t worthy of your attention. It’s the stuff hazy dreams of autumn evenings are made of, with oud wood, musk, warm woods, vanilla, freesia, honeysuckle, mimosa, and additional notes. It may sound like a cacophonous scent, but it’s creamy, smooth, and perfect for cool weather.

Guerlain Samsara: This is a classic, and beware of its strength. There’s sandalwood cozied up to amber, vanilla, Tonka bean, jasmine, iris, green notes, lemon, and more. It’s a complex scent that melds into a woody masterpiece.

Estee Lauder Sensuous: Sensuous is like a warm whisper in an intimate booth of a hole-in-the-wall café. There’s sandalwood, honey, black pepper, molten wood, mandarin pulp, magnolia, lily, and jasmine. It’s just right for spritzing on before you put on a cashmere sweater.

So many fragrances are ideal for winter because the cool air brings out their best notes and helps them meld with the wearer’s skin without overwhelming everyone in the room. These perfumes can sometimes warm up anyone lucky enough to catch a whiff despite the low temperatures.

New Year’s Resolution: Give Yourself a New Hair Look

new hair

(StatePoint) If you’ve sported the same hairstyle since telephones came with cords, this might be the year to make a change. Keep in mind, hair makeovers don’t have to be drastic to look great.

There’s no need to shed massive amounts of length. Instead, the refresh can be subtle and chic.

Here are four ways to start your new year with the perfect hairstyle:

• Go Big: After years of head-hugging, sleek strands, bigger now is better. “Think full, lush, Victoria’s Secret hair,” says Matrix Artistic Director, Nick Stenson. A layered cut can provide the perfect foundation for body, as shorter pieces push the lengths up and out.

Another quick way to build extra boost? Blow dry your hair with a large, round brush, then set it on jumbo Velcro rollers and let it cool.

Why not do what many celebrities do before hitting the red carpet? “Most of the women in Hollywood have extensions that add body and length,” says Stenson. “There are lots of fun temporary extensions you can clip-in for a special night out, or even wear every day.”

• Go Bang: Whether it’s a dramatic side-sweep; a ’60s-inspired, brow-grazing shape or an airy, pixie fringe, bangs can update a hairstyle in no time.

“There’s a flattering fringe for every face shape and personal style,” says Matrix Artistic Director, Ammon Carver. “For example, long, wispy, angled bangs are a classic and can soften a round or square face. A blunt, long, solid fringe gives off a bohemian vibe and also covers a long forehead and balances a pointed chin.”

Work with your hairstylist to assess your face and create a custom fringe that suits you perfectly.

• Go Bold: When you’re thinking about color this year, don’t stop at blonde or brunette. Today’s hair hues run the gamut from dusty pastels like lilac, silver and pink, to bold shades of amethyst, coral or mulberry.

“Depending on your personal style, you can opt for an all-over hue transformation or simply add a bright panel or streak for an unexpected pop of color,” says Stenson.

• Go Brilliant: Want to know the secret to looking younger? Forget Botox — it’s all about shiny, gleaming hair. Dull, dry strands add years to your look, so investigate shine-boosting strategies in the new year.

“Start by selecting the right conditioner,” suggests Carver. “Your stylist can assess whether you need moisture, protein or a combination of both and help you select a formula for your hair type, whether it’s fine or thick and coarse.”

A glossing hair color treatment will also boost the shine factor. It’s like topcoat for your hair. And don’t forget the finishing touch — lightweight styling oil, applied to damp hair before drying and styling. “I love Biolage Exquisite Oil,” says Carver “It contains Moringa Oil and delivers weightless shine.”

More 2013 hairstyle trends and suggestions are available at www.matrix.com.

Let a new year mean a new you and a new ‘do.

Face-Washing Tips for Healthier-Looking Skin

washing face

Washing your face is as simple as using soap and water, right? Not quite, say dermatologists. How you wash your face can make a difference in your appearance.

Face Washing 101

“It’s important for people to treat the face with care. Never scrub the skin or use harsh products as doing so irritates the skin, which makes skin look worse,” said Thomas E. Rohrer, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in private practice in Chestnut Hill, Mass.

For healthier-looking skin, Dr. Rohrer recommends people follow these tips to keep their face looking healthy:

  • Use a gentle, non-abrasive cleanser that does not contain alcohol.
  • Wet your face with lukewarm water and use your fingertips to apply cleanser. Using a washcloth, mesh sponge or anything other than your fingertips can irritate your skin.
  • Resist the temptation to scrub your skin as scrubbing irritates the skin.
  • Rinse with lukewarm water, and pat dry with a soft towel.
  • Apply moisturizer if your skin is dry or itchy. Be gentle when applying any cream around your eyes so you do not pull too hard on this delicate skin.
  • Limit washing to twice a day and after sweating. Wash your face once in the morning and once at night as well as after sweating heavily. Perspiration, especially when wearing a hat or helmet, irritates the skin. Wash your skin as soon as possible after sweating.

“A board-certified dermatologist can answer your questions about how to care for your skin, hair and nails,” said Dr. Rohrer.

In recognition of November as National Healthy Skin Month, these steps are demonstrated in “Face Washing 101,” a video posted to the Academy website and the Academy’s YouTube channel. This video is part of the Dermatology A to Z: Video Series, which offers relatable videos that demonstrate tips people can use to properly care for their skin, hair and nails. A new video in the series posts to the Academy website and the YouTube channel each month.

 

# # #

Headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy), founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential, and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of more than 17,000 physicians worldwide, the Academy is committed to: advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education, and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care for a lifetime of healthier skin, hair and nails. For more information, contact the Academy at 1-888-462-DERM (3376) or www.aad.org. Follow the Academy on Facebook (American Academy of Dermatology) or Twitter (@AADskin).

Find Your Best Red Lipstick

lipstick

If you haven’t done so already, the holiday season is a great time for you to foray into bold red lipstick. However, if you’re feeling cautious, don’t worry; your perfect shade is out there! There are a few ways to approach finding your best red lipstick: your coloring (mostly the undertones in your skin rather than your hair and eye color), your age, and your comfort level when it comes to bold lips.

Your Coloring

If your undertones are warm — yellow or golden — you’ll look best with orange-toned reds. If you have pink or blue undertones, you’ll look best in blue-toned reds. If in doubt, try a happy medium — a red that doesn’t veer too far into orange or blue territory. The balance of undertones will be flattering on most skin tones.

The depth of the color depends on the vibe you want. Fair skin tones can pull off the brightest red to the richest burgundy for a range of looks from pin-up to goth. Medium skin tones look amazing in brights and bolds, but very dark shades may not be the best fit and could drain the color from the skin. Dark-skinned ladies can rock burgundy and wine shades but shouldn’t shy away from brights, either; they’re shocking in the best possible way and will ensure a completely contagious smile.

Your Age

In your 20s, you can experiment as much as you like. Even going against your undertones can give you a quirky look. As for glossy, shimmery reds? Yes. Don’t shy away from the brights, the bolds, or the ones that catch the light and don’t let go. If those aren’t your style, you can choose from mattes, creams, sheers—the world of red lipstick is yours for the taking.

Of course there are exceptions to every rule, and you should experiment no matter what your age to find your best texture, shade, and opacity, but once you hit 30, you’re probably not going to want too many glittery red shades. Also be more careful of the undertones and check your lipsticks in several lights before deciding which red seems to have been made just for you. You can still go for creamy lip shades in your 30s, 40s, and 50s (and beyond), but as you age and develop fine lines around the lips, you may notice more of a need for lip liner (red or clear) to keep bleeding at bay, or you may decide to choose more matte shades because they tend to stay put longer. Adding gloss to the center of your lips will add back some of the shine that will perk up your face the way a good red lip should.

Your Comfort Level

This is something most ladies who want to wear red struggle with. Going from only neutral or pink lip balms or glosses to a red lip can make you feel like you’ve got a big flashing sign on your face. Never fear. You can work up to strutting your stuff in public with red lipstick on. Wear it around your house until you feel at ease. Make sure to look in the mirror often so you’re used to seeing yourself with red lips. Eventually, you’ll feel comfortable enough to wear those lips out at night, and then eventually during the day. Yes, you can wear red lipstick with everyday clothing a lá Gwen Stefani.

Another way to ease into red is to choose a stain or a sheer lip gloss first. If you’re extremely hesitant to wear red, you may even feel like wearing this product at home first. A cherry red stain will brighten your face without being noticeable from yards away.

If your concern comes from wondering if your lipstick will smear as the day goes by, try a long-lasting or matte formula like MAC Ruby Woo or Stila Long Wear Liquid Lip Color in Fiery.

Get out there and experiment with a wide range of reds. If you’re unsure, visit a department store cosmetics counter for a second, third, or even fourth opinion on which red is right for you. Check those shades out in the sun and indoors just as you would a foundation to make sure that you’re committing to the right shade. Any woman can wear red; it’s all about finding “The One.”

Best Bangs and Buns for Your Face Shape

bangs

Bangs aren’t just for little girls, and buns aren’t just for ballerinas anymore. These two trends have become ubiquitous, not just in Hollywood (where even shocking purple locks don’t get a second glance), but on the streets of cities and towns everywhere. At first, bangs and buns may feel like a no-brainer — you either pull them off or you don’t. But that’s not true; there’s a right style of each for every woman. Pair them together or just choose one.

Oval Faces

Buns: You’ve heard it before: you can do no wrong with your face shape. High buns, low buns, side buns…Try them all and see what’s the most comfortable for you and your style.

Bangs: Again, there isn’t much you can’t do. You may want to skip the extra-short baby bangs because they could make your face look longer, but wispy, thick, sideswept, or straight-across can all work. Play up those eyes!

 

Round Faces

Buns: Add height to a round face with a high bun that borders on top knot. If you want something lower, tease the hair at the crown of your head and then sweep the hair into a bun at the nape of the neck. This will elongate the face and give it more of a balanced, oval appearance.

Bangs: Those baby bangs (often paired with short or retro hairstyles) will look great on you. So will jagged, wispy bangs or sideswept ones. Add angles to your face without covering up the majority of your forehead for the most balanced look.

 

Square Faces

Buns: A bun placed higher or lower than your jaw line will be the most flattering. Try an elegant low bun or a top knot for a glamorous style.

Bangs: Skip blunt bangs and instead try some wispy, sideswept bangs instead. They will counteract the angles of your face and soften your features while bringing out your eyes.

 

Heart-Shaped Faces

Buns: Topknots, low buns, and mid-height buns will all work for you as long as you don’t add too much volume at the crown. Keeping the bun low and to one side will add width at the bottom of your face and balance out an angular chin. If the bun will be visible from the front (as with a side bun), add some width by teasing the length of the hair or creating a sock bun.

Bangs: With heart-shaped faces, you generally want to stay away from blunt, thick bangs that will add width to the forehead and emphasize a narrow chin. Instead, try wispier styles that angle to the side (they can still be relatively short), or go for long, sideswept bangs that could almost be considered a short layer.

 

Long Faces

Buns: Low buns are your best bet because they won’t add height to the crown and give the illusion of a longer face. Buns at the nape of the neck—centered or to the side—look elegant with longer face shapes. Tease the length of the hair or create a sock bun to add width and volume.

Bangs: As long as your bangs are right around eyebrow-level, you’ll be fine no matter which thickness or style you choose. Blunt bangs will make your face appear shorter and lend a more balanced look overall, but if you feel more comfortable with a longer fringe that falls to the side, you can’t really go wrong with that, either.

Bangs and buns are two hair trends any woman can wear as long as she takes her face shape and goals into account. Don’t forget to talk with your stylist about how the texture of your hair may affect your bangs, and don’t shy away from straightening or teasing your hair before attempting a bun. Even once you settle on a bun height, there are other things you can do with it, from adding volume with a sock to making it extra sleek and shiny with a leave-in oil treatment and shine serum. Get the basics for your face shape down and then experiment as much as possible to see which styles you love most.

 

How to Conceal Under-Eye Circles

womans eyes shutterstock_69260008

Got circles? If the answer is yes, it could be for one of many reasons—being a mom, being a student, working too hard, allergies, or even genetics. But cheer up; once you determine the color of those circles, you’ll be able to start working on cancelling them out.

Concealing dark circles under the eyes starts with determining which color your circles actually are, because even the best concealers and color correctors won’t work if they aren’t trying to cancel out the right color. You may want to consider two products if your circles are very dark—a color corrector and a concealer that matches your skin tone. Get ready to make those circles vanish!

The easiest way to get the perfect product or products, of course, is to visit a department store counter and have the salesperson match you up. Tell her you want something to cancel out the color of your circles, not just match your skin. (Keep in mind that you’ll need a skin tone shade to cover any blemishes.) You can also consult the color wheel. If your circles are blue-tinged, you’ll need a concealer with an orange or peach undertone. If your circles are purple-tinged, try yellow. There are color-correcting products out there designed just for this, like Eve Pearl’s Salmon Concealer ($35, EvePearl.com) and Bobbi Brown’s Corrector ($22, BobbiBrownCosmetics.com), but if your circles are very light, you may be able to get away with using a concealer designed for someone with pink undertones, for example (like MAC’s NW shade range).

First, apply your moisturizing eye cream and foundation, if you choose to wear one. An eye cream will help the concealer go on more smoothly and help keep it from settling into the fine lines under your eyes (everybody has them!). Think of it as a primer. Or use a primer there, if you already have one that you use under your foundation.

Once your eye cream or primer has settled, use a flat, synthetic brush like the Essence of Beauty brush ($9.99 in a set, CVS) to tap the concealer or color corrector on the darkest part of the circle, usually at the inner corner of the eye. Pat the edges out and down to cover the rest of the circle without leaving an obvious line where the concealer ends and skin begins.

Once you’re satisfied with the color correction, if you still need additional coverage or you feel that the yellow or orange (or peach) is too obvious, you can go over the top with a separate, lightweight concealer that matches your skin tone. Even a creamy formula will work if you have dry skin. For example, Bobbi Brown’s Creamy Concealer ($22) can be used on top of the corrector from the same line. Use a small fluffy domed brush to set the whole area under the eyes with a translucent powder to prevent unsightly creasing there. That’s always a dead giveaway that you’re covering up the circles and you’re not feeling as rejuvenated and ready to take on the day as you meant to look.

If it seems that no matter what you use, what you do, or how thinly you layer your concealer, it keeps flaking or settling into fine lines, you may wish to try a mineral foundation as a concealer. Using a small fluffy brush, close your eyes and start at the area closest to the nose, brushing downward and over to cover the whole under-eye area. Another bonus to using the mineral powder this way is that it usually offers at least some sun protection. Several companies claim that their mineral makeup offers SPF 15, though that number may not be accurate depending on how much you use. It’s still wise to use a daily sunscreen on your face, but a little extra from your makeup won’t hurt. If you like the coverage, you can use it all over your face and then double up on the application under the eyes. Try Mica Beauty Cosmetics ($64.95, MicaBeautyCosmetics.com).

Once you discover your perfect combination, you may be surprised by how alert you can look within just a minute or two in the morning.

How To Avoid Hair Salon Nightmares

hair

(StatePoint) Getting the hair cut you want is not always as easy as closing your eyes and visualizing it. If you’ve ever left the salon looking differently than you planned, you know how frustrating a botched cut or dye job can be.

“Style satisfaction actually starts long before your stylist picks up the scissors,” says Matrix Global Artist Franco Della Grazia of New York’s Cutler Salon. “Communication between you and your stylist should start the moment you walk through the salon door.”

Here are some indispensable tips for anyone seeking to get the most out of that next trip to the salon:

• Expect a full and free consultation. A thorough consultation is the best way for a stylist to learn about you and your hair. Most reputable salons will offer free consultations to new clients. It should last about 10 minutes — time well spent if you consider how long it takes a bad cut to grow out!

• Don’t keep secrets! The more you share with your stylist, the more information your stylist will have to create a look and styling plan that’s right for you. So offer full disclosure about the botched color job that you covered up at home, or the cowlick that springs to life in humidity! Share the good, and even more importantly, the bad so can set goals to be successful together.

• Be yourself. If you’re visiting a salon for the first time, make an effort to wear the outfit that best sums up your flavor. This will help your stylist create a look that harmonizes with your taste and style.

• Describe your daily routine. Do you shampoo daily? Are you willing to blow dry your hair, or are you always running late for work or school? Do you experiment with different looks and products, or do you prefer a single style that goes from desk to dinner party? A recount of your routine helps your hairdresser design a look you can duplicate at home.

• Know what should stay and what has to go. “I love when a client knows what she likes about her hair and what she wants to change,” says Matrix Artistic Director Patrick McIvor. “Don’t worry about communicating in stylist-speak. Just keep it simple.”

Do you like your length, your bangs, or the fact that it takes two minutes to do your hair in the morning? Do you dislike your frizz? Is it too red? Too fine?

Hairdressers claim it’s actually more helpful to understand what a client doesn’t like, so that they can avoid going down that road. Bring photos of both dos and don’ts, and be prepared to talk about them.

More helpful tips on communicating with your stylist can be found at Matrix.com.

Remember, time heals all hair cut blunders. But if you don’t feel like waiting, you can take proactive steps to get it right the first time.

*****

5 Styles for Medium-Length Hair

medium hair

Mid-length hair’s the perfect thing, right? Long enough to put up, but short enough to still have volume? Versatile, bouncy, shiny… But it can go terribly wrong, if you’re not prepared.

With the onslaught of celebrities sporting perky new bobs and those retro shows—Mad Men and Pan-Am, anyone?—a medium length haircut could be increasingly tempting. Knowing what to do with it once you walk out of the salon is another story altogether, though. Here are some ideas for styling those medium-length locks if you’ve taken the plunge and gotten a cut.

The Haphazard Updo: If your hair’s on the long side of medium, say shoulder-length or at the collarbone, you can curl your hair with rollers or a curling iron, then run your fingers through the length to break apart the curls without sacrificing the texture. Grab random sections of hair about one to two inches wide and start twisting them back toward the back of the head. Secure each section with crisscrossed bobby pins and continue until all your hair is up. Feel free to leave out a few face-framing pieces to soften the effect. Another way to do it is to pin the front and sides only, leaving the bottom section of hair down.

The Headband Braid: Lauren Conrad’s made this one ubiquitous, and if you have bangs you’re growing out, you’ll love it more than a traditional headband because it’s easier to control those pesky ends that like to poke up. With a braided (or twisted, if you don’t trust your braiding skills) headband, you can easily braid and tuck those pieces underneath, then spray or gel them into place. Make a deep part, then section off a band of hair across the top of your head about 2-3 inches from the hairline. Put the remaining hair into a low ponytail to keep it out of the way. Take three small sections of hair—about 1/8″ to 1/4″ wide from where the part begins. Begin to French braid across the top of the head and down to the other ear. Secure the ends, release the ponytail, and pin the loose ends of the braid beneath the hair hanging down in the back.

A Messy Bun Without All the Hair: Tease the hair at the crown of the head once you’ve made your part in the front (either side or middle will be fine). Curl your hair, but don’t worry about getting it perfect; this is more for texture than perfect ringlets. Pull your hair into a low bun and secure it with a ponytail holder. Fold small sections of hair back toward the head and pin into place, adding bulk to the “bun” without ever having to wind a length of hair around the base of the ponytail, as you would in a traditional bun hairstyle with longer hair. A thin headband can dress up your look.

Half-Up With a Twist: Part your hair on the side. Tease the crown. Make a part from the top of the ear on the opposite side all the way up to the part. Clip that section out of the way. Pull the rest of the front and top sections back, then secure with a ponytail holder. Release the hair you sectioned off earlier, then pull it to the back and wrap the ends around the ponytail holder. You may have to twist it a bit to make it stay. Secure beneath the small ponytail with bobby pins.

French Twist, With a Twist: Part your hair on one side. Pull all of your hair into a low ponytail and begin twisting upward, directing the twist up toward the opposite ear (to the side without the part). Once you reach the point where you’d like the twist to end, tuck the ends under, as you would with a traditional French twist, and place bobby pins along the length of the twist.

If you decide you want to cut your hair, there will be some adjustment. Don’t worry that you won’t have any styling options, though. There are plenty of things you can do with medium-length hair.